US President Joe Biden is reportedly going to name Indian-American Rahul Gupta as the top drug policy official of the country. This would add another Indian-American to a senior position in his administration.
On July 13, the White House said that Rahul Gupta is set to be the first physician to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy, also referred to as the “drug czar.”
“President Biden’s nomination of Dr. Rahul Gupta to be the first physician ever to lead the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy is another historic step in the administration’s efforts to turn the tide of our nation’s addiction and overdose epidemic,” the White House said in a statement to The Washington Post.
While Republican Gov. Jim Justice called it “great news”, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said the pick “means someone with firsthand knowledge of the opioid crisis, especially in West Virginia, will be coordinating the national fight against the drug epidemic that continues to ravage our nation.”
“Dr. Gupta will bring over a decade of extensive experience combating the drug epidemic to ONDCP – the office charged with addressing the drug epidemic that has killed over 90,000 Americans just last year,” Manchin was quoted as saying in a statement.
Recently, Gupta had served as the chief medical and health officer at March of Dimes.
Rahul Gupta is set to join a growing pantheon of Indian-Americans in the Biden administration. The administration includes vice-president Kamala Harris, surgeon general Vivek Murthy, director of the office of personnel Kiran Ahuja, head of Biden’s team of speechwriters Vinay Reddy, associate attorney general Vanita Gupta, and senior adviser Neera Tanden.
In a statement to The Washington Post, Rahul Gupta said: “As a physician, I have seen firsthand the heartbreaking toll of addiction and overdose in all our communities, but I have also seen how we can save lives if we understand the individuals behind the statistics and meet them where they are with high-quality, evidence-based care and services.”
Gupta will replace Regina LaBelle, who has served as the acting director of the office since January.